After three years of planning, testing and purchasing equipment, the York County Sheriff’s Office has opened its own DNA lab that deputies and other law enforcement officers can use when investigating crimes that require forensic evidence.
The lab recently earned accreditation from Forensic Quality Services by meeting international standards for forensic testing labs, according to a York County Sheriff’s news release. FQS is the longest established provider of accreditation to forensic testing agencies in the United States .
“We have created a quality laboratory which has been recognized through a rigorous review process,” Cristy Kissel, the lab’s DNA technical leader, said in the news release. “We look forward to serving all the agencies in York County in their efforts to investigate and reduce crime.”
The lab will allow officials to forgo using the State Law Enforcement Division’s lab, which has experienced a backlog for several years. Law enforcement agencies across the state use SLED’s lab to test DNA in murder, rape and other cases requiring forensic evidence.
“It has taken us months to, at times, more than a year to get DNA results back for routine cases from the state lab,” Sheriff Bruce Bryant said in the release. “Now, we can have results in weeks and even as little as a few days, if necessary.”
The Sheriff’s Office lab was created through drug forfeiture money and grants, and is now operating on county funding. It is one of four local forensic biology labs in the state.